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18 Mar 2019, 23:42 HRS IST
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  • PTI
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  • Cong govt on way to 'impose power bills' on farmers: SAD

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21:3 HRS IST

Chandigarh, Jan 24 (PTI) The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) today claimed that by allowing the installation of electricity meters on agricultural tubewells, the Congress government is on way to "impose power bills" on the farmers in the state.

The party said, in doing so, the ruling dispensation was taking back the facility extended to farmers by former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal.

Reacting to a cabinet decision in this regard, former minister Sikander Singh Maluka said the cabinet was trying to give the impression that electricity meters were being installed on tubewells at various places on a pilot basis.

"This is furthest from the truth. The Congress government has rolled out the anti-subsidy policy of finance minister Manpreet Singh Badal who has time and again in the past spoken out against giving free power facility to the farmers of the State".

Terming the decision as "anti-farmer", Maluka raised apprehension that the step would be fully implemented soon as per indications from the Congress government.

"This (implementation) would be the death knell for farmers of the state," he said.

"Punjab is going through an agrarian crisis. Nearly 400 farmers have committed suicide since the last ten months.

Finance minister Manpreet Badal has failed to implement the promised Rs 90,000 crore loan waiver scheme. Now Punjab farmers are faced with withdrawal of the free power facility", he said in a release.

Punjab cabinet today approved a pilot research project on Direct Benefit Transfer for Electricity (DBTE) for 990 agriculture consumers, aimed to save underground water.

The implementation of the DBTE scheme would help the state in promoting crop diversification, saving of precious ground water, accurate energy accounting resulting in rationalisation of subsidy, checking Transmission & Distribution (T&D) losses, besides curbing of wasteful energy consumption.

The farmers, in turn, will be benefited through regular income by saving electricity and promoting crop diversification.

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